Pure as the Driven Snow
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — (By Lisa Strong-Aufhauser) Even the snow on top of the Greenland ice sheet is not as pure as you’d think. Dr. Joe McConnell from the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada, studies the impurities in the ice. He’s been able to identify and relate changes in the amount of pollutants in Greenland ice cores with changes in human technology – and environmental regulations.
I interviewed Joe at Summit Camp last July, on top of the Greenland ice sheet. We stood right next to an ice core bore hole that produced an important core in 1993. The Greenland Ice Sheet Project Two (GISP2) core gives science an ice record back 100,000 years. Joe’s team has done additional, higher resolution cores that go back 500 years to see how changes in pollutants might have affected climate and human health.
Joe’s research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in 2008. Click here to see the paper: http://www.pnas.org/content/105/34/12140.full
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